If you’re a vegan or you’re responsible for feeding one, you might be thinking that wine pairing with vegetable dishes is limited. On the contrary, that isn’t true! Different from what non-vegetarians would have vegans believe, vegetarian dishes provide equally pleasing pairings and can perfectly pair with bolder wines than meat-based dishes. Because it’s largely considered to be one of the main challenges with pairing vegan or vegetarian dishes, this post will provide you with all the information you need to match your vegetable dishes with even bolder wines.
Pairing vegetable dishes with the perfect wine
How to pair bolder wines such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah with vegetarian or vegan dishes.
Consider Wine To Be An Ingredient
If you break down wines into their structural taste components (bitter, sour, sweet, etc.), it becomes very easy to treat it as an ingredient, which actively interacts with the vegetarian dish, instead of just something you sip on after the meal. The main aim of a perfect wine pairing is so that you can properly balance the taste components with your dish so that the pairing perfectly highlights all the key flavors.
The Taste Profile Of Wines
Because we are trying to pair the full-bodied wine with vegetarian dishes, let’s identify the fundamental taste components of a great wine.
- Base flavors – Since grapes are used to make red wine, they have a fruity flavor. The bolder red wine usually ranges in a darker fruit aspect of the spectrum with black currant, blueberry, blackberry, and plum flavors.
- Intensity level – To perfectly complement bold wines, you need to properly match the bodied red wines with vegetable dishes with the same intensity.
- Bitterness – The tannin and pigment in wine add astringency and bitterness to wine, and has been found to have a more palatable cleansing effect. The features of astringency and bitterness are crucial to note when pairing because you’ll need to counterbalance such with food.
Full-bodied red wines don’t taste the same, but the following are great examples of full-bodied wines along with some of the principal flavors and aromas.
- Nebbiolo – Cocoa powder, tobacco, anise, licorice, rose, cherry
- Cabernet sauvignon – mint, bell pepper, green peppercorn, black cherry, black currant
- Syrah – Chocolate, sweet tobacco, black olive, black pepper, plum, blackberry
Wine Pairing Ideas
Since you now understand red wines and their identical tastes. Following are the key components that a dish should have to create proper balance.
Complement sourness in perfect wine with salt and fat
If you make a simple salad, you’re essentially adding salt and oil (fat) to vinegar so that you can create a perfect balance. This is the idea behind balancing the sourness in wine. You need some fat element in the vegetable dish to counteract the acidity of the wine.
Complement the bitterness in wine with fat, umami, and protein
The polyphenols and tannins in wine usually act as the scrapers on your tongue to fat and proteins, which is the reason you’ll want some fat (soy sauce, dried shitake mushrooms, bouillon, molasses, nuts, and oils) and proteins (beans, quinoa, tofu, etc.) in your vegetable dish to perfectly complement the wine.
Match red wine with food. (n.d.). BBC Good Food. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/match-red-wine-food
The best pairing for Indian food? It’s not beer (Published 2016). (2016, September 13). The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/dining/indian-food-wine-pairings.html
The best wines to serve with vegetable dishes. (2018, August 14). the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/may/18/best-wines-with-vegetable-dishes